South African Skeptics

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91
Off topic / Re: Astrophotos
« Last post by brianvds on August 27, 2020, 11:28:11 am »
Messier 8 reminds a bit of instant pudding, and thus stimulates my sweet tooth. :-)

But when I make that stuff, the kitchen gets ever messier and messier... >:D
92
Off topic / Re: Astrophotos
« Last post by Rigil Kent on August 27, 2020, 09:40:48 am »
Very nice! Are the red spots stars or hot pixels?
93
Off topic / Re: Astrophotos
« Last post by Tweefo on August 26, 2020, 16:46:34 pm »
The result of about 5 hours last night. The Lagoon nebula or Messier 8.

94
General Skepticism / Re: The Elephant in the Room
« Last post by brianvds on August 26, 2020, 09:38:37 am »
And in the latest news:

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-08-26-sa-reserve-bank-must-be-nationalised-without-compensation-to-end-white-capital-domination-argues-floyd-shivambu/

Now here's a question: suppose the SARB is nationalized. By Mr. Shivambu's own argument, that will be the end of "white monopoly capital." But what will he say five years later, when the poor are still as poor as ever (or poorer) and the gap between rich and poor even greater? Will he admit that it was after all not white monopoly capital that was the problem, or will he simply shift the goal posts? I wait with bated breath... :-)
95
General Skepticism / Re: The Elephant in the Room
« Last post by brianvds on August 25, 2020, 11:14:46 am »
There is always room for more parties. Realising that the ANC is an irreparable mess, Cyril will spawn a new party which markets itself as exceedingly good and competent in every way that the ANC is not.

* wraps crystal ball in a red velvet cloth and returns it to its biscuit tin *

Max du Preez has often expressed a wish for the saner part of the ANC and DA breaking away from their parties and forming a new one. Perhaps this will happen.

I can envision far worse scenarios than a series of ineffectual coalition governments, mind you. South Africa is ethnically and politically so diverse that it is perhaps actually the only realistic option for the medium term - the ANC's huge support was perhaps somewhat artificial.

I have also become more supportive of the idea (the idea, not necessarily the parties themselves!) of small ethnic and specialist parties like the VF+, Inkatha and Reverend Meshoe's Christian party. It shouldn't be a problem as long as it doesn't spiral into open ethnic hatred, and there is much to be said for a party that is very homogeneous and can therefore focus all its efforts on one particular part of the population. Such a party tends to also be more resilient against corruption, because it tends to lose all its support virtually overnight, at the slightest sign of scandal or corruption.

Our obsession with "unity" is nonsense. There has never been unity in South Africa and there never will be, and that might actually be a good thing. The ANC, and even more so Zimbabwe, has shown us what comes of unity. So bring on the bazillions of small parties to add to the general clamor, and hopefully prevent one single bunch of corrupt, psychopathic fat cats taking total power.

I suppose the Purple Cow still has my vote, if they run in the coming election. They seem to be the closest thing we have to the RP - the Rational Party. :-)

Incidentally, based on how busy the local mall is, the economy seems to be slowly getting back on track. Well, at least the mostly white middle class economy. And it's true, isn't it? - South Africa increasingly has two different economies. There is the middle class economy, which is a more or less normal economy, functioning like modern economies everywhere do (albeit very heavily parasitized). Then there is the economy of the poor, which produces nothing but gets injections in the form of social grants. A good percentage of it consists of illegal immigrants too, but they don't stay in it long because they work themselves up and out of it to join the middle class economy.

The middle class economy is fairly diverse, and as such also fairly resilient against shocks. I suppose it is too early to tell whether it will survive the Covid shock, but thus far the signs are not too bad, and if it does it will give one some confidence that it can survive almost anything (except, presumably, a communist government).

I don't know what will happen to the poor economy, and to be honest, I care ever less and less. They now mostly have themselves to blame - they have to firstly vote their beloved ANC out of power, and then, once we no longer have a government with a choke hold on the economy, start doing what all those "job-stealing" immigrants are doing, and start to take care of themselves. If they don't or won't, well, then I suppose their social grant will have to do.
96
General Skepticism / Re: The Elephant in the Room
« Last post by Rigil Kent on August 25, 2020, 06:51:52 am »
There is always room for more parties. Realising that the ANC is an irreparable mess, Cyril will spawn a new party which markets itself as exceedingly good and competent in every way that the ANC is not.

* wraps crystal ball in a red velvet cloth and returns it to its biscuit tin *
97
General Skepticism / Re: The Elephant in the Room
« Last post by brianvds on August 24, 2020, 09:25:23 am »
I think it is possible that CR is beginning to realize that his legacy, for all of history, is going to be one in which he stood at the head of a party corrupt to the core, and presided over fat cats quite literally stealing from the poor to enrich themselves. It's the kind of thing JZ was too stupid to care about; perhaps it is different with Ramaphosa. But I fear Mefiante is probably right: the entire party has become so rotten there is nothing more to do for any self-respecting member of it than to very publicly resign. I half hope Ramaphosa will do so, and then do a press conference in which he says, publicly and unambiguously, that he did so because his conscience would no longer allow him to stay on.

I won't be holding my breath. But I do think that in another election or two, the ANC might well lose its outright majority, and then we'll become the Italy of Africa, with a new, ineffectual (and probably corrupt) coalition government every year.
98
General Skepticism / Re: The Elephant in the Room
« Last post by Mefiante on August 24, 2020, 09:17:33 am »
I don’t read the article as posing the question whether Cyril Ramaphosa will be out on his ear soon; instead, I think Grootes is deliberating about a change in how CR will govern going forward.  While a firmer handling of the reins of power may ultimately bring about his downfall in the ANC, the more immediate issue is whether his open letter to the ANC’s upper echelons marks a departure from his customary soft-pedalling, accommodationist style of not stirring up trouble within his party.

If my understanding is correct, I think CR will not sustain his sterner approach for very long before simply falling back into the old ways.  After all, the rot is deeper now than ever before and he stood idly by for years while the plundering, looting, and subversion of the state took place.  He had enough clout to see it all, to raise the alarm, and to take meaningful action, yet he did nothing other than mouth occasional placatory platitudes and remain silent for most of the rest of the time.  Furthermore, he’s been at the helm for near enough three years now and we haven’t seen any significant action being taken against anyone of stature.  NDPP head Shamila Batohi’s—a CR appointee, please note—handwringing pleadings about how eviscerated the NPA still is, is becoming tiresome and empty.  Action, not words.

I certainly hope I’ll be proved wrong on that score and that CR will actually maintain more fortified guts for the sake of SA, but I don’t think that’ll happen.  The state, including the judiciary, is too damaged for sudden bravery on the part of a few to make much difference.

'Luthon64
99
General Skepticism / Re: The Elephant in the Room
« Last post by brianvds on August 24, 2020, 04:26:49 am »
100
News and current events / What I wish SA’s middle class was talking about
« Last post by brianvds on August 14, 2020, 08:16:51 am »

What I wish SA’s middle class was talking about

Marius Oosthuizen

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2020-08-14-what-i-wish-sas-middle-class-was-talking-about/

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I'm not sure that post-Covid, there will be enough left of the middle class to do much of anything... :-)